NEWARK, NJ — Newark, Irvington, East Orange, and Orange are leveraging their collective power to crack down on businesses and individuals who refuse to comply with statewide shelter-in-place regulations, Newark Mayor Ras Baraka announced on Monday.
Newark Police began patrolling the city after it became clear that some locals and businesses were not taking the state’s or city’s measures seriously, though only warnings were being issued up until today.
More than 120 summonses have been handed out to people for obstructing the administration of law. If they continue to violate the same order, Director of Law and Public Safety Anthony Ambrose said that charge can go up to the county prosecutor. It was not clear whether the other towns would also be enforcing the orders in the same way.
In Newark, there are more than 400 positive cases of coronavirus and 10 deaths, the most of any municipality in Essex County. The state’s case count rests at 16,636 and 198 deaths as of Monday.
“This is a matter of public safety, and the community has an equal responsibility to make sure we all stay healthy and safe,” Director Ambrose said in a statement. “I urge our residents to call police if they see groups of people hanging out and violating this mandate.”
Irvington, East Orange and Orange will be joining Newark in the lockdown tomorrow evening. Newark gave out more than 100 summonses today to first-time violators, saying second offenses will be charged with obstruction of law going forward.
“This is not a joke. The city of Newark will continue with our lockdown procedure and we will reassess on Friday,” Baraka said. “We have to do this. It sounds Draconian, but it must take place. It will save lives.”
Police will monitor the borders of each town to limit the number of people traveling for nonessential purposes, Baraka said.
Businesses who continue to let in more people than considered safe will also be shut down, including places where customers are congregating in or around the building.
He praised the employees at ShopRite, HelloFresh, Walgreens and all the other essential workers who are holding the city down while the coronavirus tears through the Newark area.
“It’s a different time for us. It’s a different time for you, for me, my family, it’s difficult,” “Our job right now is to lift up people’s spirits. What does Newark strong mean? It means we’re taking care of our families and our neighbors.”